President Bush reaching "New Heights of Hypocrisy"
Senator Biden gave a passionate speech on Iraq on the floor of the U.S. Senate. He implored the President to change course in Iraq, change his failed policy and end this war responsibly.
Click the image below to watch as Senator Biden confronts the President's veto threat, "If the President vetoes the emergency spending bill, he's the one who will be denying our troops funding and he's the one who will be denying the American people a path out of Iraq."
And then forward this link to others. We must keep the pressure on the President to end this war responsibly.
The full text of Senator Biden's speech on the Senate Floor is included below:
President Bush has spent the last two weeks talking up the "progress" we're making in Iraq and talking down the Democrats and some of our Republican colleagues for trying to bring this war to a responsible end.
But sometimes, you have to deal with the facts as they are -- not as the President wants them to be but as they exist on the ground. And the fact is that the President is totally out of touch with reality, he's out of touch with the American people and he's out of touch with America's interests in the region.
I have been here a while Mr. President and I can say I have never seen a president so isolated since Richard Nixon. The president appears to be totally removed from reality. He tells us Attorney General Gonzales has done a great job when anyone who watched it views it as one of the least impressive appearances of an AG. He tells us that the president of the World Bank, is doing a great job, oblivious to the damage being done to America's reputation around the world. And against the advice of some of the most gifted military men and women in a generation, he's adopted a policy in Iraq is a disaster.
The president argues that the surge is succeeding. But for every welcome development he cites, there is an equally or even more "unwelcome development" that gives lie to the claim we are truly making progress. For example: While death squad violence against Iraqis is down in some Baghdad neighborhoods where we have surged, suicide bombings have increased by 30 percent over the past six weeks. And violence is up dramatically in the belt ringing Baghdad. The civilian death toll increased 15 percent from February to March. When we squeeze the water balloon in one place, Mr. President, it bulges somewhere else.
It is true that Moqtada al-Sadr has not been seen, but he has been heard, rallying his followers with anti-American messages and his thugs to take on American troops in the south. Last week, he pulled his ministers from the coalition government. Intelligence experts believe his militia is simply waiting out the surge.
Closing markets to vehicles has precluded some car bombs, but it also has prompted terrorists to change tactics and walk in with suicide vests. The road from the airport to Baghdad may be safer, but the skies above it are more lethal, witness the ironic imposition of "No Fly Zones" for our own helicopters.
Tal Affar is the most damning evidence of the absolute absurdity of this policy. The President cites it as progress. Architects of the President's plan called that city a model because in 2005, a surge of about 10,000 Americans and Iraqis pacified the city.
Then we left, just as our troops will have to leave the Baghdad neighborhoods that they have calmed. Last month, Tal Affar was the scene of some of the most horrific sectarian violence to date: a massive truck bomb aimed at the Shiite community led to a retaliatory rampage by Shiite death squads, aided by the Iraqi police. Hundreds were killed. The population of Tal Affar, which was 200,000 just a few years ago, is down to 80,000.
There is an even more basic problem with the President's progress report, and it goes to the heart of the choice we now face in Iraq. Whatever tactical progress we may be making will amount to nothing if it is not serving a larger strategy for success.
The administration's strategy has virtually no prospects for success. The administration hopes that the surge will buy time for Prime Minister Maliki's government to broker the sustainable political settlement our own military views as essential to success. But there is no trust within the government, no trust of the government by the people it purports to serve, and no capacity on the part of the government to deliver security or services.
And there is little prospect that the government will build that trust and capacity any time soon. How many times have my colleagues heard that beginning in January how there is an oil agreement? Has anybody seen that deal?
In short, the most basic premise of the President's approach -- that the Iraqi people will rally behind a strong central government that looks out for their interests equitably -- is fundamentally and fatally flawed.
If the President's plan won't work, what will?
History suggests only four other ways to keep together a country driven by sectarian strife. And it's not to put American troops into a city of 6.2 million people to try to quell a civil war. Throughout history four things have worked. You occupy the country for a generation or more. That's not in our DNA -- we're not the Persian Empire or the British Empire. You install a dictator. Wouldn't that be the ultimate irony for the United States -- to go back after taking one down and install another one? You let them fight it out until one side massacres the other -- that's not an option in that tinderbox part of the world.
Or lastly, you make federalism work for the Iraqis. You give them control over the fabric of their daily lives. You separate the parties. You give them breathing room. Let them control their local police, their education, their religion and marriage. That's the only possibility: change the focus to a limited central government and the federal system that their constitution calls for.
I can't guarantee that my strategy will work. But I can guarantee that the road the President has us on leads nowhere, with no end in sight. We have to change course, Mr. President, to end this war responsibly.
That is what Congress wants to do. Later this week, we will send the President the emergency supplemental spending bill for Iraq. It provides every dollar our troops need and the President requested.
It also provides what the majority of Americans expect: a plan to start to bring our troops home and bring this war to a responsible end, not escalate it indefinitely.
If the President vetoes the emergency spending bill, he's the one who will be denying our troops funding and he's the one who will be denying the American people a path out of Iraq.
The President's double talk on Iraq is reaching new heights of hypocrisy.
On April 16, the President claimed that setting a timetable to start bringing home our troops would be to "legislate defeat."
Just two days later -- two days later -- his own Secretary of Defense had this to say: "The push by Democrats to set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has been helpful in showing Iraqis that American patience is limited -- that this is not an open ended commitment."
Then, in arguing against the Supplemental, the President claimed that by sending him a bill he would somehow be forced to veto, the military would run out of money for Iraq in April -- which is not true -- and as a result, he would have to extend the tours of troops already in Iraq.
Extending those tours, the President said, "is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable to our veterans, it's unacceptable to our military families, and it's unacceptable to many in this country."
The very next day -- the very next day -- the administration announced it was extending the tours of every U.S. ground troop in Iraq by three months. Once you get over the hypocrisy, that announcement is an urgent warning that the administration's Iraq policy cannot be sustained without doing terrible long-term damage to our military.
If the administration insists on keeping this many troops in Iraq into next year, it will have to send soldiers back on third, fourth and fifth tours and extend deployment times from six months to a year for Marines and from 12 months to 16 or 18 months for the Army.
The military will also be forced to end the practice of keeping troops at home for at least a year between deployments; to fully mobilize the National Guard and Reserve; and to perpetuate a backdoor draft.
This President is breaking the military. We don't have to guess at the impact on readiness, recruitment and retention.
This month, we learned that recent graduates of West Point are choosing to leave active duty service at the highest rate in more than three decades. This administration's policies are literally driving out some of our best young officers.
Instead of working with Democrats and Congress on a way forward, the President, divorced from reality, is accusing us of emboldening the enemy and undermining the troops.
Mr. President I have a message for you: the only thing that is emboldening the enemy is your failed policy. Instead of escalating the war with no end in sight, we have to start bringing it to a responsible conclusion.
This war must end. The hour is late. Much damage has been done.
But the time is now. My responsibility as a Senator is to keep relentless pressure on the President to come to grips with reality. To continually push every single day. To say Mr. President, stop, stop this policy of yours.
It is my hope, even though he [The President] is likely to veto this bill, that we will keep the pressure on and ultimately convince at least a dozen of our Republican colleagues that it's time to stop backing the President and start backing the troops.
It's time, Mr. President, it's time to bring this war to a responsible end.